Congress could be moving toward a government shutdown as Democrats and Republicans clash over the military funding bill, and both sides are blaming each other for the impasse.
According to The Hill
, Democrats are intent on forcing Republicans to roll back plans to increase defense spending without a commensurate increase in nondefense programs. They are threatening to block the annual spending bills unless GOP agrees to a budget summit.
Republicans insist they will not be influenced by Democrats' demands or submit to a budget summit. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, meanwhile, has largely persuaded his party to block the $576 billion defense funding bill, sources told Politico
Republicans warn that blocking the bills would be tantamount to "political suicide" for the Democrats, according to Politico.
"Democrats once thought it was insanely radical for Republicans to oppose too much spending, but now think it's perfectly reasonable to shut down the government when the spending bills don't spend enough," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement Monday, according to The Hill.
"This is a bad hostage to take," South Dakota Sen. John Thune told Politico. "The politics for Republicans on that, if Democrats want to play it that way, is certainly advantageous to us."
Democrats, however, are pointing the finger at Republicans and say their opponents have the most to lose.
"We're headed for another shutdown," Reid said last week. "They did it once, and they're going to do it again."
Other Democrats have warned of a similar fate.
"If our Republican colleagues want to keep quietly paddling toward a government shutdown, that's their choice," said Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, earlier this month, according to The Hill.
"The line has to be drawn," Maine independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, told Politico. "They're wrong. They're the ones that are following a strategy that's neither fiscally prudent or fully cognizant of the risks to national security."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office insists that Democrats will suffer the fallout if the government shuts down.
"It's hard for someone who's vowed to filibuster and block spending bills to blame someone else for shutting down the government," Don Stewart, McConnell's spokesman, told The Hill.
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